Wood fence w/ metal posts

Old 03-16-06, 08:36 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: DFW, Texas
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Wood fence w/ metal posts

We are thinking of installing a 6 ft privacy fence. We currently have a chain link fence and would keep this in place and install the privacy fence next to it. If it makes any difference, we are in the DFW area of Texas.

1. I will use metal posts. What would be the best way to maintian level height between posts? Would I just set the post using a torpedo level w/ string? What if I need to raise one? Seems that it would just sink back into the hole. Would it be best to get them fairly level and then use a recipricating saw to trim the top of the posts to get them level?

2. How would I get the metal posts to keep from leaning before the concrete dries? As is probably obvious, I really havent work with concrete before.

3. What type of distance should I maintan at the bottom of the fence? I read that they were recommending a 2 inch gap, but isn't this excessive? I would think that 1 inch would be plenty, wouldn't it? Do i need to keep a small gap inbetween the slats to allow wind to pass through or is it ok to butt them closely together? Personally, I would prefer them butted close.

4. Would you recommend the pre made panels or building piece by piece? I am leaning towards piece by piece.

I am open to any suggestions or idea's, so feel free to fire away!

Thanks so much!

Old 03-17-06, 04:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arlington, WA
Posts: 9,238
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Set the posts using a couple of torpedo levels or a post level to get each of them plumb. Use a string to get the post line straight. The posts won't lean if the concrete is mixed a bit on the dry side. If leaning does become a problem use a couple of 3' wood stakes driven at about 45 degrees on 2 sides of the post and duct tape them to the post.

Install the posts taller than you need them and cut them off the next day.

Stick build the fence. You will work too hard trying to get the posts spaced EXACTLY so that pre-made panels will work. Space the posts over 7' but less than 8' apart, (92" to 94" works well) and use 16' rails. You trim each to length so that the joists land in the center of the posts.

A 1" gap at the bottom is usually plenty, but you can correct that later. The important thing is to get the TOPS even! Set the first fence board at one end, go down and tack a fence board at the other end. Run a string (nylon mason's line) across the top and PULL IT TIGHT. The string will sag in long runs -- tack a board every 10' or so to compensate for that.

The gap between the boards depends on how green or dry the boards are when you install them.If they are really green, then tight (an 8d or 16d nail for a spacer top and bottom) is plenty. The boards will shrink when the dry. (Check every 3rd or 4th board for plum and adjust as needed.) If the boards are dry, leave a slightly larger gap -- they will swell in the winter when they get rained on.
Old 03-27-06, 03:49 AM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 7
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Great Advice...

...it helped me a lot this past weekend.

Now I have a 19' driveway gate to handle....any tips? I've never handled anything this big before.

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